The Department of Economic Development tries to put a good face on the latest Missouri unemployment numbers. But they’re not as good as the department tries to say.
Missouri’s jobless rate is up to 7.1% for July. Department spokesman Amy Susan says, “Our employment rate has steadily been coming down for the past three years.”
However, the numbers tell a different story. July’s rate is the same as it was in July, 2012. The difference is that last year’s 7.1% July rate was part of a downward trend. This year’s rate is trending up. Missouri’s unemployment rate in January was 6.5%, a 42-month low.
Now it’s six-tenths of a point higher. But the department points out that Missouri remains under the national unemployment rate–7.4%–for the 47th straight month. Except now Missouri is only three-tenths of a point under the national percentage. In January, Missouri was 1.4 percentage points better than the national figure.
Susan says the “small uptick” in unemployment should not underplay some of the expansions announced this summer. The Department’s monthly report lists fields that have added jobs. It has stopped listing sectors where jobs decreased.